Being 64 years old, with iron-poor everything, having worked for more than 40 years saving money and living frugally, I jumped at the chance to use an online calculator to see when I could comfortably retire.

The answer? When I am 181 years old — and setting Guinness records for wrinkle cream consumption.

Retiring "comfortably" I presume means driving a large recreational vehicle to church on Sundays — and having almost enough money for prescription drugs.

The sad truth? Hardly any men reach age 100. The day of my funeral I will start work early and hustle until noon, the calculator suggests. And who wants to employ a walking wrinkle with enough strength to barely boost an empty Fred Flinstones lunchbox over his head?

The calculator is a jokester.

Many Boomers are already retired, some even comfortably, with their "land yachts" crowding interstate highways and jamming restaurant parking lots for early bird specials. Prune pie, anyone?

Other Boomers are on the cusp of retirement, in the childhood of old age, and wondering when to pull the plug on work — if work hasn't pulled the plug on them.

Perhaps you, a typical Boomer, face similar challenges. Maybe your career path involved layoffs and surprise medical bills and failed to reach white picket fence dreams. Maybe life threw uppercuts to the point the calculator is grabbing its belly and laughing hysterically.

Once you do the calculator, beware. Within minutes, your Facebook feed will be invaded by flocks of financial advisers bleating about the million dollars needed to retire.

Yes, having $1 million buried in the backyard would be ideal. For most of us, though, that is as likely as having the Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes van drive up and make you the newest millionaire — and get balloons stuck in your trees.

Within hours, schools of wealth management sharks will show up on your Facebook page in a pension and investment feeding frenzy.

Four decades ago, I had an aha! moment. (I am expecting another any time now.)

A college journalism professor with investments, a pension and a Volkswagen bus in place of a land yacht advised his students (including me) to take a vow of poverty.

A few outliers, he admitted, would get rich. They would write the great American novel, or make millions as a TV anchor keeping the news boat from drifting in tumultuous seas. The rest of us would eat mac and cheese while feeding facts to a public that, as it turns out, prefers conspiracy theories.

Decades later, done chasing facts and so close to retirement I can hear Arthur Rightus knocking, I have given up competing with the Joneses next door for neighborhood bragging rights.

I am content keeping the lights on and the rent paid. The calculator, the financial advisers and the wealth management experts, however, seem to suggest since $1 million hasn't fallen out of the sky and landed on my neck, I should join Buck Owens and Roy Clark of TV show "Hee-Haw" fame singing the song "Gloom, Despair and Agony on Me."

The financial experts are right. After a robust version of "Deep, dark depression, excessive misery, if it weren't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all," I will buy enough wrinkle cream to last until I am 181. Then I will laugh heartily and block them from my Facebook feed.

___ (c)2021 Walla Walla Union-Bulletin (Walla Walla, Wash.) Visit Walla Walla Union-Bulletin (Walla Walla, Wash.) at union-bulletin.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Better than a comments section

Discuss the news on NABUR,
a place to have local conversations


The Neighborhood Alliance for Better Understanding and Respect
A site just for our local community
Focused on facts, not misinformation
Free for everyone

Join the community
What's NABUR?